Regaining Trust in Families

by Paul Bright

The trust between you and your family has been broken. Although you may not be to blame for the rupture, you are ready to do what it takes to get it back. If this sounds like your situation, there are some steps - involving communication, accountability and action - you can take to help you regain the trust of your family.

Open Lines of Communication

Making yourself available for communication is a good start to regaining trust. Opening the communication lines is more than just saying how you feel. Practice active listening skills as well, especially if family members need to vent or communicate frustration with you. Active listening involves keeping eye contact and summarizing others' statements to show that you are paying attention. When your family members know you are listening, they will talk to you more.

Be Altruistic

If you can make yourself available to help family members in an altruistic manner, they might start to trust you again. Altruism means you are willing to do something for someone without any expectation of payback. Altruism reinforces positive relationships in a family because through altruism, you show how much you genuinely care for family members.

Follow Through

If you make a promise to a family member, follow through with it. Make a promise that's feasible, and choose your words carefully. If you are put in a position where you have to break the promise, tell the family member as soon as you can. Honesty will be the best policy in the long run because family members will come to trust your words even if they are disappointing.

Become Openly Accountable

Opening yourself up to transparency can also open a path to healing family trust. Usually a circumstance or action led to the broken trust. One of the best things you can do is become accountable for any similar situations. For example, if the trust was broken over your whereabouts, make yourself available for check-ins any time you leave the house. If possible, ask one family member to be your accountability partner. That person will have the right to check on you at any moment.

About the Author

Paul Bright has been writing online since 2006, specializing in topics related to military employment and mental health. He works for a mental health non-profit in Northern California. Bright holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of North Carolina-Pembroke and a Master of Arts in psychology-marriage and family therapy from Brandman University.

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